Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) are in high demand, with jobs expected to increase 27% between 2018-2028. These professionals work with children and adults to assess and treat speech and swallowing disorders, often in schools, hospitals, in home care settings, and in skilled nursing facilities. You need a master’s level education to become licensed to practice in this special area of health care. Consider online speech pathology programs which make it much easier to enter this profession no matter where you live.
Careers with Master’s in Speech Pathology Online
Many people need the services of an SLP, and the need for workers in this highly specialized profession is great. If you want a career that allows you to help infants with swallowing or speaking problems, people who need help to speak after stroke or brain injury, or people with autism, this is a great career option.
Enrolling in one of the many online speech pathology programs takes dedication, commitment, and willingness to work hard on both academic and clinical portions of the program. The training for this rewarding profession is rigorous and it is very competitive to get into a masters in speech pathology online program. However, with the high demand for trained SLPs to help both adults and children with speech disorders, some states offer scholarship programs to help the best candidates. Plus, the compensation is good, with a median salary of $79,120 per year. The highest paid setting for SLP practitioners is in long term care facilities, with a median salary of $95,420.
Many people choose todo as a change of careers. To begin a program, you need a bachelor’s degree in any subject and then a series of prerequisite courses to begin. For those with a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders, most of the prerequisites may already be fulfilled. There are jobs available in elementary and secondary schools, hospitals, nursing care facilities, and to work as a home care SLP. This specialty is needed in all parts of the country, both rural and urban, and for people who wish to work primarily with children, geriatric, or mixed populations. With few trained professionals available to fill the jobs, once trained and licensed, the prospects for finding work are very good for graduates of online speech pathology programs.
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Online Speech Pathology Programs
When you are searching for the right master’s in speech pathology online program, you should consider cost, time to complete the degree, clinical and on-campus requirements, and whether the program qualifies for licensure in your state. The program you choose needs to be accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), which has stringent requirements for the education you will complete to be able to sit for and pass your praxis exam. All online speech pathology programs will require 400 hours of clinical observation and practice, completion of prerequisite courses, foundation courses, and some elective or specialty classes.
Most online speech pathology programs operate on the cohort model, meaning that a group of students starts at the same time and then progresses through the coursework together on a set schedule.
The shortest programs may allow for completion in six semesters, while most average approximately nine semesters of coursework and clinical practice hours.
Most programs require some campus visits, which are usually scheduled in the summer, and sometimes entail clinical practicums with faculty.
On-campus visits may be short, as for orientation or exams, or they can be six to eight weeks long for intensive clinical practice.
Students will also be required to complete one or more clinical externships, usually in their hometown, to work with different populations. These externships typically happen during work hours, so students may have trouble working full time while completing a program. Some programs offer more flexible and part-time study, which may be better for those who have work or family obligations that make it difficult to commit to an ambitious schedule.
The curriculum taught includes neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, various types of speech disorders, cognitive disorders impacting speech, infant swallowing disorders, research, counseling, diagnosis and intervention, and numerous special subjects relating to populations such as elderly, child, brain injury, and autism. If you have a particular specialty in mind, look for a program with the specific elective courses you are interested in taking. Most masters in speech pathology online programs have some synchronous courses, meaning that you will have to sign on at a particular time to interact with faculty and peers, but some offer totally asynchronous coursework that you can complete at any time of day.
Program Cost & Admission
We have compiled a list of the best affordable speech pathology graduate programs that you can complete mostly online, and the costs can range from less than $500 per credit to about $900 per credit for the most cost-effective programs. Some programs will be more expensive but may have other perks that could make it worth the extra cost.
Admission to all of the programs is very competitive, with few spots available for training in this highly-desired specialty. Applicants will need to have certain minimum GPA and GRE scores for each program, except for one online speech pathology master’s program no GRE required, and some programs will allow international students while many will not.
Most programs participate in theprogram so that students from almost all states can take their programs, and many also participate in the , which is a centralized application portal for prospective students who want to apply to multiple schools at once. Before you apply, you should check to make sure that you meet the eligibility criteria for the school, and that the school you are interested in will qualify you for licensure in your state. If you really hate taking tests, look at the online SLP no GRE option we have highlighted below. Since the SLP certificate and exam are overseen by a national organization, ASHA, most states will recognize most schools that are accredited by ASHA.
Online Speech Pathology Master’s Programs No GRE
It is rare to find a program that allows an online SLP no GRE option, but Nova Southeastern University is the one program that allows you to skip the test. For an affordable online SLP with no GRE required, pay special attention to this school.
Nova Southeastern University
Total Cost (In-State / Out-of-State): $66,071
For applicants who hate tests, the Nova Southeastern University online Speech Language Pathology MS degree program is the only program that does not require the GRE for admission. Though this is a challenging 53-credit degree program, much of the knowledge required is very specific to the anatomy and neurology of speech, which is in this very specific realm of knowledge that would not be on the GRE.
The Nova Southeastern program meets the educational degree requirement for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and US protectorates.
Students who live within 50 miles of one of the Florida campuses would need to take the program on-campus, while everyone else can attend through video conferencing. Most of the program takes place in live video classes in the evenings and on the weekends so students can maintain employment.
The program includes one clinical lab and two externships that can be arranged near the student’s home, and students must complete 400 hours of supervised practice.
The program can be completed in eight semesters or just under three years, but many students choose to complete the coursework and practicum requirements in 12 semesters.
Student outcomes for this program are impressive, with about 90% of online students completing the program within the expected time frame, employment of graduates from recent years at approximately 96%, and pass rates on the challenging Praxis averaging about 88%. The program has a rigorous scientific and clinical curriculum that prepares graduates well for the exam and professional success.
Applicants to the program need prerequisites, 25 hours of clinical observation with a SLP, and international applicants are accepted. Nova Southeastern’s SLP program is a great choice for those who want to skip the GRE and dive right into the specialty courses needed to prepare for this highly-respected profession.
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6 Most Affordable Master’s in Speech Pathology Online
James Madison University
Total Cost (In-State): $21,340
For adult learners who may be changing careers, the James Madison University online master’s degree in SLP is designed to help you get into this exciting and much-needed profession.
Admission is selective and requires a minimum 3.25 GPA in the CSD coursework, but there is no minimum GRE score for admission.
Students from all states except California are welcome, and the program may accept a limited number of international students. Cohorts begin every other year. There is a two-day on-campus orientation at the beginning of the program, and a six-week residency required for a clinical practicum during the summer after the first year of courses, with four other clinical placements arranged near the student’s home.
Most students who hold jobs will need to re-arrange their work schedules to accommodate these clinical placements. The JMU master’s in speech pathology online is a great deal for in-state students, who benefit from extremely low tuition, and is a great choice for working adults who want to transition into a career in SLP.
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Tennessee State University
Total Cost (In-State): $26,394
The online MS in Speech and Hearing Science from Tennessee State University is an eight-semester, part-time program that begins in January each year. The cohort size for the distance learning program is capped at 30, so admission is competitive.
Students with a 3.5 undergraduate GPA and specific GRE scores can be admitted unconditionally, but students who don’t meet the criteria may be admitted conditionally, meaning that they need to maintain a 3.0 GPA in the first nine semester hours of the program.
Online classes meet asynchronously and synchronously, and students may need to come to campus to meet with faculty or take exams on occasion, though faculty work together to limit the number of visits students must make. There are also two on-campus practicum experiences, spanning three weeks in the first summer and six weeks during the second summer of the program. After the two summer on-campus clinicals, students will complete a practicum at a site closer to where they live during the fall and spring of their final year.
In-state students get a terrific tuition rate, and students who reside within 250 miles of the school get a discount on the out-of-state tuition price. Even for out-of-state students, the tuition rates are very low for this highly regarded program.
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University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $33,750
Students in the online SLP master’s degree program at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will be required to come to campus for three one-week on-campus intensives during the summers. Each accepted cohort of students begins in the summer and though the rigorous program is considered part-time, students must register for between 2-6 credits each semester to complete the 54-credit program. Students progress through the coursework together as a cohort, but some students may be required to take extra courses to meet all the prerequisites and may therefore carry a heavier course load some semesters.
The program is highly affordable, and scholarships are available to those who qualify. The program does not accept international students. Minimum requirements for application include a 2.75 GPA on completed degrees, with a minimum of 3.25 on CSD coursework, however, admission is competitive. UW-Eau Claire is a great program for those who seek a cost-effective SLP program that can fit into a busy life, with trips to Wisconsin each summer.
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Western Kentucky University
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $42,420
There are two different schedule options for the online MS in SLP at Western Kentucky University: full-time students can complete the program in eight semesters, while part-time students can take a nine-semester schedule. The 60-credit distance education program welcomes international students, but all online students will be required to come to campus for one six-week summer practicum. All cohorts begin in the fall semester.
Online synchronous courses are offered in the evenings, and tuition is the same low price for all online students. Applicants must meet minimum requirements of having an undergraduate GPA above 3.0, specific GRE scores, and students apply through the university and the department for admission.
The program discourages students from working full time during their studies due to the time requirements for both classes and clinical placements. Students will not be able to do their clinical externship in California (except for students who are already employed as an SLP-A) or within 160 miles of Bowling Green.
The program allows for 12 transfer credits from another program, and for those with undergraduate SLP internship experience to transfer up to 50 hours of their practical experience to the program. The WKU online speech pathology programs offer a choice of schedule, low tuition pricing, availability to international students, and some transfer credits options, making this an affordable and flexible program for those who are admitted.
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California State University – Northridge
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $52,463
At California State University-Northridge, the online MS in Communicative Disorders is a 41-month program, with all clinical externships completed near each student’s home. CSU-N also offers a two-year, pre-SLP online program for those who need to complete the prerequisites for this program. Master’s cohorts begin in the spring semester and interact with peers and faculty throughout the program.
Admission to the university requires a minimum 2.5 GPA, but a GPA of 3.5 in SLP courses is recommended to be competitive for admission to this selective program. There is a two-week online orientation at the beginning of the program, and students must reside in the United States for the entire program.
The program does accommodate students with jobs, and for those who completed undergraduate SLP clinicals, up to 75 hours may be transferable to the graduate program. As one of the few online speech pathology programs that does not require campus visits, the California State University-Northridge program is ideal for those who have work or family obligations that make it difficult to travel far from their homes.
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Idaho State University
Total Cost (In-State): $57,684
Idaho State University offers the online MS in SLP in a part-time, 36-month format. Two on-campus summer clinical sessions are required, the first being eight weeks long, and the second just one week in duration. Students then complete an eight-week externship in their own communities.
The university participates in the NC-SARA program, so students are welcome from all 50 states. International students who reside in the US are not eligible for the online program. Tuition is very affordable for all students, but in-state students and those from states in the Western Regional Graduate Program qualify for the lowest tuition rates.
Cohorts begin in the fall semester, and applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA on previous coursework to apply, though most admitted students have higher GPAs. Included in the elective options for this program are Spanish language certificate courses, geriatric certificate courses, and mindfulness courses. The Idaho State University SLP program is great for rural residents who are not near campus or students who have work or family obligations but are able to attend summer sessions.
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Apply for Online Speech Pathology Programs Today!
It is terrific that you can now go into this highly rewarding specialty by taking a masters in speech pathology online, making it easy to start your path towards an in-demand career as a Speech Language Pathologist. If you need to take prerequisite courses before you apply, many of these schools also offer online courses to meet the requirements. With many jobs awaiting you, and many people needing these services, now is the time to get your ducks in a row to apply for one of these affordable speech pathology graduate programs.